Emerson Quartet, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

The programme could not have been more felicitously constructed: three Central European string quartets, composed during a two-year period in the Twenties when Modernism had just found its voice.

Blasphemy, By Sherman Alexie. Grove Press, £14.99

Sherman Alexie has beaten the odds. First, he wasn't expected to live, having been born with hydrocephalus, which is fatal if not treated. Secondly, not many Native Americans rise above the narrow confines set by white society – and, as Alexie illustrates, some of their own community – to reach literary success. Alexie has done so, with many national awards.

A taste of India: Learning to cook in Kerala

Hanging upside-down off the back of a wildly bobbing boat is not the best time to do the grocery shopping. Eye-to-eye contact is, I'm told, a key to successful bartering but, like keeping my breakfast down, I'm finding it hard to maintain.

Alex Thomson reaches Les Sables d’Olonne

Alex Thomson goes round the world in 80 days

Sailor becomes the fastest Briton to finish the Vendée Globe, joining the elite at his fourth attempt

Bodyguard of Kony ‘killed’ as Ugandan forces close in on LRA leader

Ugandan forces have killed a former bodyguard of Joseph Kony, a sign they are closing in on the fugitive rebel leader wanted for war crimes.

Tahir ul-Qadri is planning to lead a huge march on Islamabad

Tahir ul-Qadri: The cleric who wants to disrupt Pakistani politics

A cleric has burst on to the political stage in Pakistan vowing to “get rid of electoral dictatorship” in a move that could scupper elections this spring.

Holy Other

The best music of 2012: Electronica

“Dubstep” became an even dirtier word in 2012, because of its synonymity with that wobba-wobba-wob noise to which the US mainstream has so unexpectedly taken.

Armageddon flop: After all that fuss it really wasn't the end of the world

Events organised across the planet for people to either gather for the oncoming Armageddon or to celebrate together the continuance of the human race

This week's wackiest web stories: Bringing sexy back (legally)

Plus: Sat nav Santa, the geek apocalypse and an alternative Christmas card list

Denis Matsuev, Kavakos, LSO, Valery Gergiev, Barbican, London

Unveiling plans for his new Mariinsky theatre, vociferously backing Putin over Pussy Riot, and popping up as an improbable Father Christmas on Radio 3, Valery Gergiev has been hard to ignore this week. But his current exploration with the London Symphony Orchestra continues.

Bruce Willis and Sigourney Weaver voted best placed to save the world from Mayan Prophecy

Brits picked the two actors as most capable of saving humanity in an online poll

Wayne Rooney struggled in the defeat by Cluj

Kevin Garside: Alex Ferguson desperately needs to roll out Wayne Rooney of old – if he still exists

He did not want for effort, but the Manchester United striker is utterly disconnected from his mojo

Is the end of the world really nigh? Authorities reassure Russians over Mayan Armageddon prophecy amid reports of 'unusual behaviour'

Some parts of Russia, which is often said to have a penchant for mystical thinking, appear to have been spooked by the Mayan predictions

Gator aid: 'If attacked, hit the animal'

Simon Calder: Foreign lesions, and how to avoid them

The man who pays his way

Ravichandran Ashwin’s bowling will test England’s batsmen

The Last Word: Let virtues of the long game flourish in Indian summer

T20 desecrates the game’s essence, absolving batsmen of all responsibility

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own